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September 27, 2010
September 27, 2010

Smart Grid Summit Speaker: Addressing Security in the Smart Grid

By Susan J. Campbell, TMCnet Contributing Editor

When it comes to trends in communications, the most exciting can change on nearly a daily basis. If you were to ask Michael Oliveri, VP of Sales for Sixnet (News - Alert), you would learn that his opinion of the most exciting trend is that of cellular networks as they are breaking technology and affordability barriers. Oliveri recently took part in a TMCnet interview in anticipation of the upcoming Smart Grid Summit, part of the ITEXPO (News - Alert) West 2010 event. 



Oliveri does believe the Smart Grid can benefit from regulations with a common approach and that 4G wireless technology is a great future addition to cellular 2G and 3G technologies. As for smart grids posing a security threat, Oliveri believes security is critical in the smart grid space and can be addressed with the right products. He does believe that smart home adoption is already happening with green-based appliances and iPhone security and home management apps. While there is a future for electric cars, according to Oliveri, 2011 is set to further “drive” the Smart Grid. 

As for the emerging winner of the smartphone/tablet wars, Sixnet takes the position that both platforms will continue to grow. When asked about the communications market overlapping with the smart grid space, Oliveri highlighted that the two are intertwined. As for the most overhyped technology, Oliveri noted WiMAX has yet to deliver on promises and LTE (News - Alert) will eventually overtake it. 

Olivier encourages Smart Grid Summit attendees to visit the Sixnet booth to learn more about the hottest new topic for all utilities and how the company can deliver the right security products in the smart grid area. As for his bold technology prediction for 2011: ruggedized tablets. The entire conversation follows:

1.      What is the most significant trend impacting the utility market? Why?

As the hottest new topic for all utilities, cellular networking is breaking technology and affordability barriers of the past. Cellular operators have identified the M2M market, with over billions of unconnected devices, as the next ARPU generating market and are developing telemetry plans to address the needs for smaller data plans at a lower price points. Moreover, this is quickly becoming a trend even in consumer markets as evidenced by both AT&T’s (News - Alert) “pay for what you consume” tablet model and iPhone’s data plan options.

2.      How much influence should regulators have over smart grid initiatives?

If by regulators you are referring to standardization, then yes the smart grid initiative can benefit from regulations with a common approach.

3.      How important is the growth of 4G wireless to the success of smart grid initiatives?

4G wireless technology is a great future addition to cellular 2G and 3G technologies. While a path to 4G should be considered, smart grid initiatives are unable to wait for this technology to mature as the need for it is now. As such, this current need is being met with 2G and 3G cellular networking as provided by Sixnet’s IndustrialPro routers. 

4.      Don’t smart grids potentially present a major security threat?

Security is major concern in all environments and it is even more critical in the smart grid area. This threat can be addressed with products that have integrated firewall policy management and configuration capabilities, such as Sixnet’s IndustrialPro routers. Sixnet routers help ease IT security concerns. 

5.      How long do you think the adoption curve will be for smart home products? What will drive adoption?

Smart home adoption is already happening - green-based appliances and iPhone security and home management applications where you can turn on and off your lights or change the thermostats prove this. As such, adoption is rapidly happening now, with parts being driven by the cellular networking industry.

6.      Is there a future for electric cars?

There certainly is a future, but it will depend on oil prices and recharging infrastructure developments.

7.      Which will be the year of the smart grid?

We believe that 2011 is set to further drive the smart grid.

8.      Who will win the smartphone wars? Tablet wars?

Sixnet thinks that both platforms will continue to grow. We really see the benefit of both of these products driving coverage, speed and security in cellular technology. This helps to further drive the need for cellular router solutions within the utility market.

9.      How do you see the communications market overlapping with the smart grid space if at all?

The two markets, smart grid and communications, are intertwined as one depends and enables the other. This is similar to the Internet and voice markets in the past.

10. What is the most overhyped technology in your opinion?

WiMAX (News - Alert) has yet to deliver on its promise and LTE will eventually over take it.

11. Why should attendees make sure they visit your booth at Smart Grid Summit?

In short, because of concerns addressed in questions 1-4.

As the hottest new topic for all utilities, cellular networking is breaking technology and affordability barriers of the past. Cellular operators have identified the M2M market, with over billions of unconnected devices, as the next ARPU generating market and are developing telemetry plans to address the needs for smaller data plans at a lower price points. Moreover, this is quickly becoming a trend even in consumer markets as evidenced by both AT&T’s “pay for what you consume” tablet model and iPhone’s data plan options.

Security is a major concern in all environments and it is even more critical in the smart grid area. This threat can be addressed with products that have integrated firewall policy management and configuration capabilities, such as Sixnet’s IndustrialPro routers. Sixnet routers help ease the IT security concerns. 

12. Please make a bold technology prediction for 2011.

Ruggedized tablets.

To find out more about Michael Oliveri and Sixnet, visit the company at the Smart Grid Summit. To be held Oct. 4 to 6 in Los Angeles and collocated with ITEXPO West 2010, the Smart Grid Summit is the first event of its kind to address the unprecedented opportunity coming from the intersection of two core building blocks of our economy – utilities and communications. This is the event you need to attend if you want to understand the role that IP communications technologies will play in how the Smart Grid evolves – not just for making utilities more efficient, but also for enabling the Smart Home and a new generation of communications innovations. Don’t wait. Register now.


Susan J. Campbell is a contributing editor for TMCnet and has also written for eastbiz.com. To read more of Susan’s articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Erin Harrison

(source: http://smart-grid.tmcnet.com/topics/smart-grid/articles/104680-smart-grid-summit-speaker-addressing-security-the-smart.htm)








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